The Hills are Alive, with SquareTail Brewing. Amherst.

Route 9 leading to Amherst is very hill-y. Truth be told, I think I’ve only traveled Rte. 9 one other time in my life and before this trip I never realized that there was an Amherst, Maine. Well, there is. And there is a pretty decent brewery there. Square Tail Brewing. It’s hidden among the rolling hills and, honestly, I drove right by even with my GPS. At the end of a gravelly road is a sign, but you might overlook it thinking it’s advertising a bean supper or something like that.

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Square Tail is another name for Brook Trout and fishing is head brewer, Wes Ellington’s other passion. He has been a home brewer for about 4 years and opened this brewery earlier this year.  One of the things I like about this brewery is that they are using local ingredients to make their brews. Can you say fiddlehead beer? And, according to a Facebook post I saw, Tate’s strawberries for a future brew (I’ll be going back to try that).

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Roll Cast Cream Ale – 5.4% ABV

Creamy, smooth, exactly like it should be. What is a cream ale anyway? Cream ale is an American style light lager. Corn or rice might be used to lighten it and is very mild on the hops. If you’re not a fan of the “bittah beers”, then this one might be for you.

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Mooned Loon Pale Ale – 7.4% ABV

This one was my favorite and let’s talk about why. So, this is a typical pale ale. Light, crisp, drinkable. But this is Pale Ale on Nitro. What’s Nitro? Why are people using it? Beers “On Nitro” are all over the place. And for good reason. This is where science comes into play. From craftbeer.com:

“When people talk of nitro, it’s a reference to the type of gas used in the carbonation process. It means the difference between the creamier nitrogen beers (N2) and their lively, prickly CO2 counterparts. A typical nitrogenated beer contains about 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide.

Nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, which is what contributes to the thick mouth feel. This effect is helped by a special piece of tap equipment known as a restrictor plate that forces the beer through tiny holes before it lands in the glass. That process causes the “rising” effect that is topped with the head. And it’s really only the bubbles on the sides of the glass that fall. Inside they are actually rising, as typically seen with a poured carbonated beverage.”

Needless to say, I could not get a growler of this one because of the Nitro. Frowny face.

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Caddi’s Fly Wheat Ale – 5.1% ABV

A little citrusy and pretty cloudy. Decent Summer beer.

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Union River ESB – 5.0% ABV

This was the one I was really looking forward to trying because it’s made with fiddleheads! And it tastes…like fiddleheads! Grassy and bitter. This was also on Nitro so there was bit of smoothness to cut through the bitterness. I liked it but maybe not to commit to a lot of it.

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Mid Arbor Red Ale 4.4% ABV

Malty. If you’re a fan of the red ales, like me, you won’t be disappointed.

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Lazy Paddle Milk Stout 5.1% ABV

Strong coffee flavor.

Overall, solid brewery and surprisingly busy in my opinion. So if you’re on “The Airline” stop in. The people are friendly, helpful, beer is good and they’ll give you some pretzels to soak up everything.

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